Higher Ground Outreach

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More Than a Survivor



Several years ago, while living in Phoenix, Arizona, someone had sent a man to deliver something to me.  The man’s name was Billy Jack.  He was wearing a gun belt loaded with bullets and a gun by his side.  As we began to talk, he informed me that he was the same Billy Jack the movies were made about.  He was a martial arts teacher in the town of Prescott, Arizona.  He also told me that he was an expert survivalist.  He has taught a few people on survival, but he is very careful on who he teaches, because he didn’t want to teach the antichrist.  However, he would be proud to be the one to blow his head off.


Needless to say, I was struggling to keep a straight face.  If it wasn’t for the gun on his hip, it would have been even harder.  On the other hand, there was sadness in my heart for him. 


It became apparent to me that it takes more than a survivor to truly face life.  I have heard many people say, “I’m a survivor” or, “I have always been a survivor.”  Here is the problem I began to see with hearing this.  Most people that make these statements will have story after story of adverse things that have happened to them.  So if you are to continually be a survivor, you are to continually be a victim.  We have all been victimized at times but we don’t have to remain a victim to anything.  Revelation 3:21 never said to him who survives but to him that overcomes.


Revelation 3:21

     To him who overcomes I will give the
     privilege of sitting
down with Me on My
    throne, as I also have overcome and
    sat down with My Father on His throne.

(Weymouth Translation)


Poor old Billy Jack would rather live out in the twigs, hidden away in the darkness of his fears than enjoy the privilege of sitting down with the savior of all mankind in his throne.  This is an extreme example.  But how many of us are hidden away in this same darkness wondering if this boat we have ourselves in is really going to float?  How many of us are trapped in the confines of the boat of our existence, too fearful to step out of our own self preservation and rise above the circumstances that are keeping us bound?


Earlier today, I was reading the account of Peter walking on the water.  After reading all three views of the event, from Matthew, Mark, and John, I was most intrigued in how Matthew and Mark saw things.  Read Matthew 14:22-33 and Mark 6:45-52.


In both Matthew’s and Mark’s account, after feeding a crowd of over 5,000 people, Jesus had compelled his disciples to get into their ship and go to the other side of the sea.  After sending everyone away, he went into the mountain to pray alone.  While they were in the middle of the sea they encountered heavy unmanageable winds. 


This is where Mark adds something to the telling of the event.  Jesus was alone in the mountain, and saw them in the middle of a stormy sea.  How could Jesus see into the midst of this raging sea when he was up in the mountain?  Maybe Peter called him on his cell phone and asked for help.  Or maybe he heard a weather report while listening to the oldies station on his radio?  No, only by seeing through the eyes of the Father would he be able to see the trouble they were in.  He immediately made his way toward them.  He was so caught up in the spirit that all obstacles were gone and continued his mission by walking on the water, so caught up that he would have walked right by them if it wasn’t for their fearful screams.


This is where Matthew takes over.  Peter was the one who recognized Jesus and figured it was kind of foolish to stay freaked out in a sinking ship when his salvation was right in front of him.  So he took a step out of the boat and suddenly remembered that at least he had something solid to stand on in the boat.  So as Peter reverted back to his old way of thinking, he began to sink.  Well his salvation was still in front of him.  Jesus gave him his hand and led him back to the ship.  He then calmed the troubled storm and they all finished their trip.


Well I’ve heard some fish stories in my time, but this one sounds pretty wild.  So much for three dimensional thinking.


Three dimensional thinking kept the disciples trapped in a sinking ship.  Three dimensional thinking almost caused Peter to drown.  Three dimensional thinking would have kept Jesus stuck praying in the mountain while his disciples were in fear for their lives (you know how long winded good preachers can be).  Three dimensional thinking would have stopped Jesus at the edge of the water when the Father wanted him to go a little further.  Three dimensional thinking would have left everyone, including Jesus, helpless.  Of course, it was three dimensional thinking that got the disciples crying out when Jesus almost passed them by.  If it wasn’t for that, Jesus would have just met them on the other side with some of the leftover fish from the 5,000 he fed the day before and this would have been a completely different story.  Don’t try to find the Bible translation I was reading from.  I’ve been writing my own paraphrase Bible for a while now.  At least ten minutes. 


Moving into the dimension of the spirit brings a complete new perspective to the reality of this life we live.  With the eyes of the spirit, Jesus was able to see thru the storm, walk on the troubled waters of the sea, and calm the storm that was causing the entire problem to begin with.  Peter was actually able to walk on that same water when he kept his eyes off the storm and on his destiny.


II Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us that even though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh.  Paul told the Corinthian church that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (of our own thinking) but they are mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that places itself above the knowledge of God.  Every thought is to be captivated to the obedience of the spirit.  While the disciples were busy fighting the elements, Jesus was busy fighting the strongholds of their fear.  All the fighting they were doing just to survive was getting them nowhere, but when Jesus stepped into the boat their troubles were gone.  All the past experience they had in how to manage this type of experience was worthless.  When we lay aside our past experiences of manipulating our way through life, and rely on the spirit of God to guide us, we will find the path to our destiny in Christ to be clear and straight.


When you study the account of Jacob in the Bible, you will see a life of skillful maneuvering and manipulation, but you will also find a life of constant adversity and struggle.  Until the one day he wrestled the match of his life.  He wrestled an angel of God and would not let go until the angel blessed him.  From that day on there was a new nature being formed in him.  The angel told him that his name will be called Israel.  No longer was he to be Jacob (the supplanter, manipulator, heel grabber), but Israel (prince with God, knowing that God prevails). Isaiah 43:1 says “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel…”  Jacob was a man created in the fashion of a fallen Adamic creation, while Israel was a man fashioned after the spirit of God and formed within the humanity of Jacob.  This new name brought on a new nature.  No longer could he rely on his past experiences, but his dependence was completely on the spirit of God. 


So did Jacob just totally disappear?  Was there only Israel who walked in those shoes from that point on?  Was this an instant change?  No, Israel was a man formed within the man.  Something that is formed doesn’t just explode on the scene.  Look at Peter in the story above.  He took on that Israel nature for a moment of time.  But it was only for a moment.  The more we learn to rely on the spirit, the more of that Israel man (inward man) is formed in us.  The apostle Paul said, in II Corinthians 4:16-18, that we should stand strong even though our outward man is consumed by the things around us, our inward man is being renewed every day.  So we don’t look at the things that are seen (of the outward man) but to look to the things that are not seen (of the inward man).  Because the things of the outward man are only temporary, but the things of the inward man are eternal.


Zechariah 4:6 & 7 tells us that it’s not by our own strength or abilities, but by the spirit of God that we can move mountains.  For a moment, Peter was able to move the mountains of his fear, past experience and understanding of the outward man, and overcome the elements of the sea while the rest of the team still remained consumed by their surroundings.  We all have mountains of some kind in our lives.  Failed relationships, financial difficulties, issues of self control, misunderstandings, or hurts we are not able to overcome.  We all have our ways of trying to work through them, but they still seem to plague us.  When we stop trying to work through these mountains in our lives and place them in the hands of God, Zechariah says those mountains will be moved at the very sound of our command.


There’s something else that Paul talked about in Romans 7:14-25


      14  For we know that the law is spiritual:
  but I am carnal, sold under sin.


He said the law is spiritual for the inward man: but he was carnal, living with the understanding of outward experiences, sold under sin (missing the mark).  Sin in its simplest form is just missing the mark.  It goes further than breaking one of the Ten Commandments.  We who are spiritual must dwell in the spirit.  Anything short of that is missing the mark.  In Romans 3:23, Paul also wrote that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God.  This is why Paul said that our outward man is being consumed every day.  The outward man can’t comprehend the spirit.  Thus follows what it thinks is reasonable or by outside circumstances.


      15    For that which I do I allow not:
     for what I would, that do I not; but
    what I hate, that do I.

      16    If then I do that which I would not, I
    consent unto the law that it is good.

      17    Now then it is no more I that do it,
    but sin that dwelleth in me.

      18   For I know that in me (that is, in my
    flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to 
   will is present with me; but how to
   perform that which is good I find not.

      19  For the good that I would I do not: but
  the evil which I would not, that I do.

      20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no
  more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth
  in me.

      21 I find then a law, that, when I would
 do good, evil is present with me.


The things in the depths of his heart that he wants to do, he ends up not doing, but the things he doesn’t want to do, he ends up doing.  Our outward man is weak.  Part of that fallen Adamic nature we were all born with.  This outward man is often being led by the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  So we judge by the things we see from the outside, while the inward man is eating from the Tree of Life.  Paul didn’t justify his sin.  However, he did recognize that if he was to partake of the Tree of Life, he was partaking of his destiny, his heritage, and eternity.  Even though his present circumstances were showing failure, weakness, disappointment, and sin, his destiny was showing life and peace.


      22  For I delight in the law of God after
  the inward man:

      23 But I see another law in my members,
  warring against the law of my mind,
  and bringing me into captivity to the
  law of sin which is in my members.

      24 O wretched man that I am! who shall
  deliver me from the body of this

      25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our
 Lord. So then with the mind I myself
 serve the law of God; but with the flesh
 the law of sin.


Paul took pleasure in the law of the inward man, even when he could see another law working in him.  Ephesians 6:12 says that we don’t wrestle with flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  We can overcome the works of the flesh, but only by the spirit of God.  Fear, doubt and disbelief are all a part of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  They don’t belong to the Tree of Life.  Any element that causes us to live under these circumstances is sin in the eyes of the spirit.  According to Ephesians 6:13, God has fully equipped us with everything that we need.  It also says that when we have done everything within our power to stand, all we are required to do is just keep standing. 


Peter tapped into something on that stormy evening.  So what if he began to sink.  He was still able to walk back to the boat with Jesus.  And when he got back to the boat, the storm was not only under control, but it had ceased.  Anyone who has been trapped in a raging sea knows that just because the wind stops that doesn’t mean the waves stop.  It takes some time for the sea to settle.  But Jesus took time into his hands and not only stopped the wind, but also the effects of the wind were completely reversed.


We have overcome the storms that kept us tossing, turning and toiling, and stepped into the dimension of a Christ filled life.  It’s up to us to reap what God has prepared for us.  Psalm 23 lets us know that God has prepared a feast for us in the presence of adversity.  This feast is for us to partake of here and now.




Steve Doss






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